In almost any given situation, when unexpected outcomes occur; or, when erroneous results are produced; or, when there appears to be obvious malicious intervention in the process; then the most prudent reaction would be to investigate the matter in order to correct the anomaly and to make sure that similar occurrences in other locations, if any, are likewise rectified.
For example, if a computer error is discovered in a bank branch, it is a certainty that a thorough investigation would ensue. Part of that investigation would be to find out if the same error occurred in the other branches. Once the error has been analyzed and corrected, it would be tested –very extensively–especially because of the added concern of why it passed the tests during the development stage.
This, however, does not seem to be the standard practice at the Commission on Elections. They have heard of problems that occurred in the use of PCOS, yet they continue to go about their business as though no problem ever happened. Let’s list down some of them:
In Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, it was proven that PCOS counted inaccurately. Comelec corrected the error by installing the rightful winner, but did the Commission investigate why and how it happened?
In General Tinio, Nueva Ecija, the voters succeeded in convincing a judge to agree to the opening of the ballot boxes in three precincts. Again PCOS proved to be inaccurate. What did the Brillantes Comelec do? It threatened the judge of having committed an illegal act by allowing the opening of the ballot boxes. It accused those who filed the protest (farmers) of having tampered with the ballots to make them differ from the PCOS count. Improbable.
In Dinalupihan, Bataan, at exactly 7:00 PM of Election Day, the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) received precinct results from a barangay even before said precincts closed the voting. The results could very well have come from another PCOS machine, in another, perhaps, secret, location.
In 2013, Senator Poe’s votes reached 12 million with only a few thousand precincts canvassed. A Smartmatic technical person tampered with the server – an illegal act – and altered the results. Later, with only 42% of the votes canvassed, her votes reached more than 20 million. At that rate, her votes would have exceeded the voter turn-out. So that it won’t happen, Comelec and/or Smartmatic must have massaged the results because the remaining 58%, only produced about 180,000 votes for her. Days later, they depleted Senator Poe’s total votes down to 16 million. No explanation.
Did Comelec thoroughly investigate why and how these anomalies happened? Did they sue, or at least castigate Smartmatic for these erroneous results? Did they check if similar occurrences happened in other municipalities? Because they could have. Except that protests may not have been filed.
And that’s the other thing: PCOS seriously impaired the protest process. The only document a losing candidate could use — short of the ballots themselves — was the Election Returns (ERs), which, unfortunately, could already have been corrupted by the PCOS software. And therefore useless.
Comelec owes it to the Filipino voting public to explain these PCOS problems and how they affected the result of elections. But the Commission does not seem to be concerned with such a “petty” matter as ACCURACY of the count.
During Smartmatic’s first demonstration of PCOS in 2009, one of the cables caught fire and so the demo was aborted. The next demonstration was held in Pateros and again it failed because PCOS could not transmit the resulting data. In July, 2012, the Smartmatic demonstration held in Congress only attained a very low accuracy rate of 97.2% (99.995% is required). Despite all these, Comelec continues to deal with Smartmatic. Unbelievable!
And Comelec continues to spend OUR money. Billions of it. Wastefully.
And yet, during our demonstration of PATaS, the Commission declared that it was a failure and would only be considered for the 2019 elections. The truth is, it was not a failure. I submitted a 7-page report describing the event, explaining some of the problems that were encountered, and how these problems (all minor) could be eliminated. (I now wonder if they even read my report.) The count was slow … but of course it would be – it’s manual counting! I have always said that the entire election process would be 12 hours longer. It’s a small sacrifice for a much better and certainly more accurate and transparent system.
What do Comelec Commissioners have against Filipino IT professionals?
Lately, Comelec has been spending time deciding on whether to allow the setting up of some precincts in shopping malls. There is nothing wrong with that. But isn’t spending precious time on the investigation of erroneous election results much more important than that?
What kind of people man this very important government agency?